Farming Matters: Handling the herd safely

Geoff doing work down at the farm
Geoff doing work down at the farm

Things never stand still on a farm.

Every year my husband informs me another essential piece of building work has to be done.

His primary preoccupation for some time now has been modifying our cattle handling system.

For some months now he’s been welding gates, concreting the yard and securing posts to make movement of the cattle easier, and possible for one person to manage.

He always used to erect temporary gates, but he now has a better design and although it is now a permanent structure it can still be taken down quickly because the posts are slotted into the ground and all the hurdles can be taken and used elsewhere.

When you are handling a herd of mature half tonne cattle and their frisky calves you can’t take any risks and safety is essential for man and beast.

The cattle have to be handled for a variety of reasons throughout the year.

This can include sorting them into different yards when they come in for the winter, pregnancy testing of the cows, worm drench for the calves, vaccinations, artificial insemination, de-horning and compulsory TB testing, which is once a year for everybody but can be up to every 60 days for those unlucky enough to have a reactor.

My husband’s design ideas for his system came from personal experience, talking to people and research on the Internet.

He’s put together a system that will enable a good flow through the handling pens towards the crush where the cattle can be attended to safely.